DERWOOD- 25 has never looked so good. Many 25-year-olds spend their birthdays with friends, family, and booze. Outta the Way Café is no different. Patrons and well wishers crammed into the restaurant to enjoy live music by Seriously Wicked Good Cookin’ band and the restaurants signature wings.
“Many venues come and go, and it is a great testament to all who make it this long. The Outta The Way Café is special in that it has lived to tell the long tale. The Outta The Way Café and I share a birthday,” said Elizabeth Bin.
It all started with a dream deferred. When co-owner Chip Berman was five, his parents died in a plane crash and he was sent to live with his grandmother. As a child, Berman and his brother ate at New York’s hottest spots with their grandmother. As a teenager, Berman decided he wanted to work in a saloon.
Berman, who is a graduate of Georgetown University, traveled around the country before moving back to D.C. in the early 1970s. For nearly a decade, Berman worked toward his dream of owning a restaurant in the district before the stock market crash of October 1987. With his savings smaller, Berman decided to explore other affordable options. One of the sites he looked at was a restaurant called Barton’s in the Derwood neighborhood. Berman says he instinctively knew the Derwood location was the future site of Outta of the Way Café. He bought the restaurant for $30,000.
Barton’s son Bruce wished the café many well wishes.
“Mom and dad always thought Chip did a good job. The food is awesome,” said Barton.
The restaurant tucked inside a shopping center on Redland Road has built a loyal following. The restaurant is known for its live music and open mic nights. While the restaurant has enjoyed many high moments, there were several low moments including the 2013 death of John Harbinson, who hosted Thursday night open mic nights at the restaurant. Harbinson was found dead in his Ocean Pines, Md. home. After his death, the Café held a tribute in his honor.
“Chip made the business a home with the type of atmosphere that brings people back. Congratulations on his success,” said Jerry Warren.
Every Thursday the restaurant hosts an open mic night and during the week, the restaurant hosts live music acts. For more information on Outta the Way Café, visit www.outta.com or Facebook.com/outtathewaycafe.